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Archive for August, 2013

 

If the idea is strengthening the radical elements imported from everywhere, then, way to go.

Mekonen Haddis

A Smoldering Tinderbox

War With Syria and its Repercussions

A U.S. invasion of Syria could be the first war based on a Youtube video.  After a video was released showing victims of an alleged chemical weapons attack, England immediately declared the Syrian government responsible, while Obama began drawing up military plans, saying there was “little doubt” the Syrian Government was at fault (zero evidence currently exists to suggest this). An extra U.S. warship has already been deployed in response.

Instead of responsibly waiting for the UN chemical weapons team — which is already in Syria — to investigate the incident, the Obama administration has already stated that such an investigation is “too late to be credible,” because:

“The evidence available has been significantly corrupted as a result of the regime’s persistent shelling and other intentional actions over the last five days.”

Of course, this is for the UN to decide. The Obama administration is already creating a justification for war that circumvents the UN, like Bush before him.

After the recent chemical weapons incident occurred, Obama falsely accused the Syrian government of not allowing the UN team into the new area (which is in a rebel controlled area). After the Syrian government gave permission to the UN to investigate, Obama then said it’s “too late”, and accused the Syrian government of destroying the evidence.

Americans are well versed with this type of deceitful warmongering, since Bush Jr. spewed the same nonsense in his quest to invade Iraq: making up lies, skewing facts, accusing without evidence, etc.

Obama quickly forgot that he already lost all credibility in Syria after previously having accused the Syrian Government of a chemical weapons attack, an attack that UN investigator Carla del Ponte blamed on the U.S.-backed rebels, who receive money, guns, training, and media and diplomatic promotion from Obama.

By now, most people understand that Obama’s rebels are dominated by Islamic extremists aiming to transform Syria into a fundamentalist version of an Islamic State, which would likely mimic the despicable totalitarian dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who are also giving massive aid to the rebels.

Any person using the slightest bit of common sense would not assume the Syrian Government is responsible for the recent chemical weapons attack. For example, the UN is currently in Syria — invited by Assad — investigating a previous chemical weapons attack, since Assad blamed the previous attacks on the US backed rebels. It’s possible that the most recent chemical weapons attack also serves to distract from the ongoing UN investigation that would have proved Assad right.

Of course Assad would have no motive to launch a massive chemical weapons attack just miles from where the UN is currently investigating the previous attack, especially when Assad is handily defeating Obama’s rebels using conventional weaponry. Obama’s rebels are the only ones who would benefit from such an attack.

Ultimately, we’ll have to wait to see what the UN says about the recent attacks, assuming they are given the time to do a proper investigation.  But following in Bush, Jr.’s footsteps, Obama looks poised to do his own investigation, using his own “evidence,” and then acting as judge, jury and executioner.

For example, the Guardian newspaper reported that there is a “summit” in Jordan this week, likely to be attended by the U.S. and its allies to decide what to do next in Syria. The Guardian ominously reported that the U.S. is already collecting its own “evidence,” no doubt to be used as a justification for war that avoids the pesky UN:

“Biological samples taken from victims and survivors of the attack have now been passed to western officials [U.S. and allies] in Jordan after having been smuggled out of Syria over the past 72 hours. Unmarked questionnaires have been distributed to officials in the three most affected communities, asking for forensic and environmental details, as well as for organ tissue and clothing worn by victims.”

So the U.S. and its allies are using their own “evidence” and will come to their own conclusions, likely much faster than the UN is able to investigate. Obama will then say that Syria poses an “immediate threat” and that there is no time for the UN to investigate. It’s sadly predictable; we’ve seen it all before.

Of course, the Obama administration and its anti-Syrian allies cannot act as an objective party in this matter, since they have been directly backing the Syrian rebels.   Nor can Obama be trusted that his “evidence” that was “smuggled” out of Syria is any evidence at all.  Again, this is why there is the UN: to perform an impartial investigation.   Even if there were evidence of a chemical weapons attack — which looks likely — such evidence doesn’t say who launched the attack, which, of course, is the key issue.

Why would Obama risk directly entering the Syria maelstrom at this point? Several reasons:

1) Assad is winning the war against Obama’s Islamic extremist rebels.  Bombing Assad will thus give the rebels a boost, extending the war (assuming there is not a full US invasion).

2) Obama has invested much political capital into the conflict; if he backs out now, he loses political credibility domestically and internationally.  When a U.S. president doesn’t back up his threats, he looks weak; and “projected strength” is now a backbone of U.S. foreign policy, which keeps weaker nations aligned and “rival” nations submissive.

3) Destroying or weakening Syria will drastically weaken Obama’s two other regional rivals: Iran and Hezbollah.

4) Most importantly, the landscape of the Middle East is changing fast, and U.S. influence in the region is quickly deteriorating. An action in Syria will remind the region that the U.S. is intent on staying, and that its threats are to be respected. Obama will not simply preside over a dying empire; he must go “all in” to secure U.S. “national interests” in the region.

For these reasons and others Obama seems intent on going to war with Syria, although it won’t be called a war. Obama will say that he’s declaring a “no fly zone” over parts of Syria to provide a “humanitarian corridor” for refugees, which requires that he destroy the Syrian air force, ground to air weaponry, and other military facilities, i.e., war.

These plans have already been mapped out by the U.S. military, and to make matters even more imminent, the Obama administration is dabbling with a “legal justification” for waging what would be, by definition, an illegal war (any war not approved by the UN is de facto illegal).

Because a war on Syria would be illegal, Obama’s “legal” justification will be  —according to an unnamed “White House official” — based on Bill Clinton’s illegal war against Yugoslavia. The New York Times reports:

“It’s a step too far to say we’re [the Obama administration] drawing up legal justifications for an action [against Syria], given that the president hasn’t made a decision,” said the [White House] official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations. “But Kosovo, of course, is a precedent of something that is perhaps similar.”

Kosovo is being picked as a legal precedent because it was considered the last “good war” that the U.S. waged. But as Diane Johnston explains in her excellent book, Fools Crusade, the U.S.-led NATO war against Yugoslavia was a war of aggression based on the very false premise of “humanitarian intervention.” The many lies that were generated to “liberate” Slovenia, Croatia, and Kosovo from Yugoslavia are now being copied and pasted onto Syria.

Obama has not told Americans about the potential ramifications that war with Syria could produce. For example, Iran’s military chief recently promised “harsh consequences” if the U.S. intervened militarily; Russia too is strongly backing the Syrian regime and could easily be drawn into any conflict. Israel is already involved in Syria’s conflict, having made several bombing missions this year. At the same time new massive shipments of arms have made their way to the Syrian rebels, possibly in time for a U.S. “no fly zone.”

The whole region is a smoldering tinderbox, and Obama seems intent on pouring fuel on the flames. The many Americans who thought that such a war was impossible will have to think again.  And although Obama will hide the war behind a Bush-like “coalition” of Europe, Arab and Israeli allies, the U.S. will be leading this puppet coalition while pushing an already unstable Middle East into full fledged regional chaos, which could instantly take on an international character.

Shamus Cooke

 

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This is another wonderful article on the bankruptcy of Neo-Liberal economic policies. It is an expose of how those who are entrusted with public service are actually in the service of the few, who are in total control of the U.S. economy. It is sad to see the rich getting richer at the expense of the average U.S. citizens’ tax dollars which is spent on covering the billions lost on stupid Neo-Liberal economic policies.

Professor Mekonen Haddis

August 26, 2013

 

My Choice is…

Avaricious Brilliance for Economic Disaster

The widening circle applauding megamillionaire Larry Summers –of Harvard University, Washington, D.C. and Wall Street – agrees on one word to describe the colossal failure – Brilliant! That circle includes Barack Obama, who appointed Summers in 2009 to be his chief economic advisor, Bill Clinton, who made him Secretary of the Treasury, and the Harvard Board of Overseers, who named him president of Harvard University in 2001.

With Clinton and his promoter, Robert Rubin, who preceded him at the Treasury post before making over $100 million at Citigroup, Summers brilliantly deregulated Wall Street in 1999 and 2000 thus setting up one of corporate capitalism’s most harmful speculative binges.

With Clinton’s approval, these men pushed for the repeal of the successful Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which separated investment banking from commercial banking. They then blocked the regulation of mounting speculation in complex, risky derivatives that led to the tanking of Wall Street in 2008. The collapse, caused by the plutocrats, cost 8 million jobs, drained away trillions of dollars in pension and mutual fund assets, and plunged the country into a “Great Recession”.

At Harvard, Summers remained brilliant in advising the University’s huge endowment into risky investments that lost it billions of dollars. His brilliance also led him to say that women just weren’t cut out for heavy duty scientific work.

Wall Street likes people labeled brilliant. It hides their greed. So firms like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup shelled out over $100,000 per visit to hear him speak his brilliance. While heading for bankruptcy and taxpayer bailouts (decided in one secret weekend in 2008 by Robert Rubin, Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson [fresh from the chairmanship of Goldman Sachs]) the shaky bank was receiving, according to Citigroup, brilliant “insight on a broad range of topics including the global and domestic economy.” Soon thereafter, Citigroup went belly up into the laps of you the taxpayers.

Clearly, Summers’ brilliance did not light a path toward banking prudence and productivity for the economy. But it sure did help Summers’ bank accounts. He reaped huge fees from the hedge fund D.E. Shaw, Silicon Valley startups, including equity positions in the Learning Club that charges its debtors interest rates reaching as high as 29 percent.

Summers has cultivated brilliance. He speaks fast and can be bombastic as he exhales his experience with international crises, government, Wall St. and academic life. He is quick with statistics and has a way of making vulnerable, smart persons around him feel inferior. That intimidating style did not work with former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who came to the Obama administration in 2009 with Summers, but as a lesser-titled economic advisor. So Summers worked the White House to marginalize Volcker who soon left. Later, when Volcker’s proposal to develop criteria to slow banking speculation with other people’s money started moving through Congress, Summers went ballistic. But his brilliance could not stop it from becoming law.

All the above matters because Larry Summers is one of the two candidates Barack Obama is considering for the Chair of the powerful Federal Reserve when Mr. Bernanke leaves in January. Many articles are being written about the pluses and minuses of Summers and his only competitor, Janet Yellen, the quieter vice-chair of the Federal Reserve who worried about the credit markets in 2007 pushing the US into a recession. She also worries about the government and the Federal Reserve not doing enough about unemployment.

The media commentary, thus far, has heavily focused on the personalities, pronouncements and establishment ties of Summers and Yellen. Who will get along with Obama best? The Federal Reserve is supposed to be defiantly independent of the White House but has become heavily politicized with its massive expansion of powers, including bailouts and printing money better known as quantitative easing.

Who will best supervise the banks? That goes to the level of the independence of the candidates’ character. Author Noam Scheiber, The Escape Artists: How Obama’s Team Fumbled the Recovery, who is often admiring of Summers, writes: “My own view is that Summers is too fond of big shots – he’s always wanted to be part of the most exclusive club that will have him…. In my book, I describe the pleasure he took from attending dinners with top Wall Street executives as a Treasury official in the 1990s.”

Such awe of Wall Street – that has and will butter his bread – means that he would be more “credible” in the financial markets, though his brilliance may get under the skin of the Federal Reserve Governors who set interest-rate or monetary policy.

Obama’s White House circle is pitching for Summers with whom they have worked. Unfortunately, the typical Washington horserace is obscuring the many important policy issues regarding the Federal Reserve:
What will a new Fed Chair do to:

Establish legal limits to the expanded and legally dubious powers exercised by the Fed?

Improve the Fed’s own increasingly scary financial status?

Show commitment to enforcement of consumer protection laws?

Reconcile the Fed’s awkward position of pushing banks to be prudent while being funded by banks and governed by bankers through its regional offices?

Increase accountability by ending its refusal to be audited by Congress?

End the Fed’s chronic secrecy?

The answers to these questions should shape Obama’s selection of a new Fed Chair. What’s my choice? Either Nobel Prize winner economist Joseph Stiglitz or University of Texas Professor of Economics, James K. Galbraith who have brilliant records and writings as if people matter.

Ralph Nader

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Group One winner Ethiopia is on target to resume in the Makybe Diva Stakes after pleasing his trainer Pat Carey in an exhibition gallop at Sale on Thursday.

Ask me to show you poetry in motion and I will show you a horse. What a wonderful creature. A delight to watch.Image

Professor Mekonen Haddis

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These are topics that caught my eyes this bright morning in Addis.

News Analysis

*  Saudi Arabia’s pledge to replace U.S. aid to Egypt that could be cut in the wake of the military’s bloody crackdown makes clear the American ally’s priority in the Middle East: to keep deposed President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood at bay and its own kingdom secure – even at the risk of stepping on American toes. By F. Brinley Bruton staff writer NBC news

·         Egypt’s interim government deplored Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s comments accusing Israel of involvement in the overthrow of Morsi, saying that it has lost patience with Erdogan and his attitude toward Egypt.

·         Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s comments accusing Israel of involvement in the overthrow of Morsi are “offensive, unsubstantiated, and wrong,” White House said Tuesday. The spokesman also denied as not accurate claims that the Obama administration had decided to cut off aid to Egypt. The president is to hold a cabinet-level meeting to review all options. The review has not concluded..

OOPS!! Guess Erdogan is not loved in Cairo and in Washington.

Mekonen Haddis

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